Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Cold Returns.

11-29-12 VERMONT: We arrived yesterday afternoon under overcast skies with temps in the thirties. All the ponds on the road are frozen. There were pockets of snow in the hollows of the pasture, and more now since we had a dusting of snow late last night. Today is quite wintry with a puffy breeze, glimpses of the sun, and the thermometer edging up from the teens to just above freezing. More snow is predicted for tonight.

The dogs are having fun running around the pasture, sniffing the deer poop and playing ball-toss. We walked around with them but were glad to get back inside to huddle by the fire. It takes some exposure to the cold to get used to it as each new winter season starts. I seem to be less tolerant of it than I once was.

The house was in a bit of disarray when we arrived—gremlins or hobbits or students had been here and left the heat on in part of the house and a few lights lit.

We hadn't been here for a month or so, and the neighbors were curious when we arrived.

The mid-afternoon sun is already near the horizon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wet Snow.

11-27-12 SHORT HILLS: More weather today. We’re getting a couple inches of wet snow, the temp is just above freezing and there is no wind at all, only silent snow. Snow is a nuisance, injures shrubs and trees, needs shoveling and plowing, causes accidents and makes walking treacherous. Nevertheless, it is beautiful when freshly fallen.

Vermont tomorrow.

A little red in the white.

More of the white.

Clinging wet snow coats every branch.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beware of the Ball, Gustavo.

11-25-12 SHORT HILLS: It’s cold again and windy, and we have a nightly frost. There are still a couple tattered looking roses hanging on.

Judy, Alan and I went to the opera last night. After a excellent feed at Café Fiorello, we crossed Lincoln Square to the Met and heard the new production of ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ by Verdi. The new production, modern dress with images of Icarus, falling from the sky with melting wings, shown in almost every scene has had mixed reviews. I liked it, Judy didn’t. The orchestra and singers were excellent, no controversy there. Conductor Fabio Luisi and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, as Amelia, we thought, were especially deserving of the standing O that they got.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More on the Storm.

11-21-12 SHORT HILLS: Our clean up from TS Sandy is done, but many in town are still working on it. The sides of the streets are still littered with cut up trees and broken utility poles. The shore areas are still disaster zones.

The beachfront towns are, for the most part, built on barrier islands. These islands are constructed by tidal action and made out of the beach sand. Their continued existence depends on a stable sea level, but the sea level is rising because of the continuing climate change. The carbon dioxide [CO2] atmospheric concentration is going to rise further and cause greater increases in global warming and higher sea levels unless the increased consumption of fossil fuels is frozen immediately. Good luck with that.

This catastrophic storm offers a preview of what will ultimately happen to the shoreline in the future. The barrier island will be taken down, rebuilt off the new shoreline, and then re-moved and rebuilt again and again. This environment is not going to be stable, and building there is a high-risk undertaking. Society will not be willing to subsidize those risks very long. It is a financial loss for the second-home folks, but disaster for the full-time people.

Typically, there is a shallow bay behind the barrier islands. During this last storm, and others, the ocean and bay, in various places, were connected by the high water.

The pix below were posted on the web, and I got them in an email. They are from Wildwood, NJ, a southern coastal resort near Ocean City, NJ.

Shark swimming near porch during Sandy, Wildwood, NJ.
Another view of shark in town.

Attempt at a closer look. The photo, taken from an email, isn't big enough to get much detail.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Clean Up.

11-18-12 SHORT HILLS: There was a frost this morning, but by midday it was in the fifties. I was outside for the first time in two days after a nasty, but short cold. I continue to turn big sticks into little ones by breaking them up. If they lie flat on the ground, the grass covers the sticks, and they slowly disintegrate, adding to the organic layer of the soil. The large ones go off to the dump.

The largest of the branches we lost was about eight inches in diameter and a couple others were not quite as big. Those I cut up and left where they were after freeing anything they had pinned down. There’s only one more load to go to the dump tomorrow, and then we are officially cleaned up. That will happen just in time for me to bake a pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

This photo came in an email, two albino moose, wow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We Play 'Pick-Up-Sticks.'

11-15-12 SHORT HILLS: Congrats to R. A. Dickey for the CYA, I expect the Mets to trade him any minute now.

We are back in seasonal weather, mild mid-November, means a jacket if you’re out at night. We have been out at night, having dinner with Alice and Irving last night and Bill and Lynn the night before and Bob and Christine coming up on the weekend. It’s not Tampa, of course, but it’s busy for us in NJ.

Judy and I started on the Sandy cleanup and delivered four carloads of branches to the dump today and will do another bunch tomorrow.

Is this what they mean by a Red State?

More redness.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back to Mild Weather.

11-12-12 SHORT HILLS: Today the temperature is almost 70° and yesterday was also in the sixties—so much for the snow. Dense fog this morning burnt off quickly. There are a few flying insects darting around, presumably hatched after the storms. A few of the trees still have leaves, Japanese maple, beech, oak and dawn redwood. The redwood took a beating in the storms, branches are scattered around the yard.

We are all mightily relieved by the election results here in the blue states. Congrats to Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight blog for getting it all almost perfectly right and for the success of his book. I went to that site no more than once an hour during the campaign. Pollster at the HuffPo also did a great job. BMN, as per Jon Stewart, has been correctly re-named.

New blooms: witch-hazel, wild strawberry.

Witch-hazel has four sepals, four ribbon-like petals, four stamen around the stigma.

Witch-hazel clusters have a delicate aroma.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


11-8-12 SHORT HILLS: We actually got the six inches of snow they predicted, delivered with a big dose of wind. This morning the air was still and trees and shrubs were buried in the snow. By mid-morning the sun was out, it was in the forties and the driveway was plowed. I don’t think there was any new, major damage here. We never lost power, but others in town did, and many new outages are reported for the region.

Speaking personally, I’ve already had enough weather for the rest of the month.

Some folks are fine with the snow.

There's about six inches piled on everything. Can you find Chloë?

Bushes and branches are bent over, but not broken.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Now It's Snow, the Locusts are on Deck.

11-7-12 SHORT HILLS: Bizarre is the word for what the nor’easter is doing today. We have high wind, of course, and snow. Yes, I said snow, a couple inches so far. We were relatively lucky here to not have major tree damage in the hurricane last week. We did have many broken branches down, and some branches still hanging in the trees. Other parts of town lost trees, hundreds were brought down.

This storm, with snow and more wind, while some trees still have foliage up, will probably do what Sandy didn’t do to us. Did I say that it's freezing?

We‘ve had power since Sunday, friends just got power back today after a ten day outages, but what’re the chances of heavy, wet snow causing new outages—could that happen? I’m sure it’ll all be worse in the coastal towns that were ravaged by Sandy because they’re expecting another storm surge tonight.

Burning bush and chokecherry in the snow.

Fortunately this apple is leafless.

Another burning bush going from red to white.

Monday, November 05, 2012

NJ Update.

11-4-12 SHORT HILLS: As we drove down Great Hills Rd. on our arrival yesterday we could see the light at the top of the driveway was lit, telling us from a block away that our power was on. Inside, the phones, TVs, and Internet were working. Life restored to normal—for us, but many are still in the dark, and many others are homeless.

The clean up in town is progressing, but will take weeks. The town management gets credit for coping and the updates are excellent. The schools are still closed. We vote at an alternate site because Deerfield School has no power.

Would you believe another nor’easter this week, bad news for those in the coastal wreckage.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Back to NJ.

11-3-12 VERMONT: The Millburn/Short Hills web site says that power is on the way, and some of our neighbors already are up, so we will head back to NJ tomorrow. It’s getting colder here, seasonally so, and there may be a frost tonight.

The enormity of the damage caused by Sandy to the Jersey shore, Staten Island, and the Atlantic shore of Long Island is astounding and should be alarming to anyone living near sea level. It has to get worse as the sea level rises further, which is inevitable.

The bird feeders have been busy since we’re here. We have lots of chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, evening grosbeaks, mourning doves, rock doves and red squirrels.

"My little chickadee..." WCF.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Now Do You Get It?

In his news conference yesterday, Andrew Coumo, Governor of New York, pointed out that the storm of the century now occurs yearly. We have had three such in the last two years, Irene, Sandy and the Halloween storm of 2011. Since there is no global or national will to actually address Climate Change and since the global temperature will continue to increase for decades even if carbon emissions were capped, which they won't be, and since sea levels will continue to rise, NYC will need a levee system, and the barrier islands are in serious trouble if not doomed.